In 1952, jazz pioneer John Coltrane purchased a rowhome in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The six years that Coltrane lived in the house were pivotal for his career; he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, released a number of albums, and recovered from a heroin addiction. Decades later, the house has fallen into disrepair. However, its inclusion on Pennsylvania’s 2020 At Risk List may provide the impetus needed to preserve the property.
Preservation Pennsylvania creates the annual list of at risk properties to draw attention to the plight of the state’s historic resources. Inclusion on the list does not guarantee any funding or that the property will be saved. Rather, the aim is to draw attention to the properties and support local action protect them. The list is selected from nominations submitted by groups and individuals. Nominations are evaluated based on historical significance of the property, the extent of the threat, and the community’s commitment to preservation.
Faye Anderson of All That Jazz Philly nominated the Coltrane house. Anderson was motivated to nominate the house because it has continued to deteriorate despite already being registered as a National Historic Landmark. She hopes the inclusion on the at list risk will turn the city’s attention to the house.
“We don’t want a situation where half the structure is gone before the city gets involved,” Anderson said. “We want L&I to go in and do an assessment. Our concern is that one day we’ll wake up and it’ll be in pieces.”
The complete Pennsylvania 2020 At Risk List can be viewed here.